You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Pest-free, drought-tolerant shrubs
Q. We saw an eight-foot shrub growing in the sun in full bloom the other day. It had dark green leaves and pinkish flowers that resemble Indian hawthorn. Do you have any idea what it was? We need a tall evergreen hedge in full sun.
A. I believe the shrub you are describing is the “Majestic Beauty” Indian hawthorn. It is evergreen, large, and blooms every spring. Majestic Beauty is relatively pest-free and drought-tolerant. Other options to consider are yaupon holly, calamondin citrus, viburnum, and Texas mountain laurel.
Q. How do you control pinworms on tomatoes? Will Bt work?
A. Some gardeners say Bt will work because the worm must eat into the tomato to penetrate. I question its effectiveness and find malathion, Sevin, and even Spinosad more effective.
Q. I have a patch of Maximilian sunflowers for the birds but they are being stripped by caterpillars. Do you know what kind of caterpillar it is?
A. There are a number of butterflies that lay eggs on sunflowers; painted ladies is one species. Note the color of the caterpillar and go to an insect or butterfly guidebook. The sunflowers will releaf.
Q. What is the lawn grass that feels like steel wool? The blades are very thin but wiry. It makes a tight beautiful sod.
A. My guess in Emerald zoysia. It is a beautiful grass that grows very slowly and is difficult to mow. Mow it with a reel mower or very sharp rotary mower.
Q. What is the purple ornamental grass? Is it easy to grow?
A. Purple fountain grass is a purple ornamental grass. Grow the grass in full sun. It is heat- and drought-tolerant but cold sensitive. I used to dig up the clumps and put them in the greenhouse for the winter.
Q. We have a magnificent live oak that has roots where we want to put a sidewalk. Will the construction hurt the tree?
A. Live oaks are generally tolerant of the construction you describe but it depends on the condition of the tree, the extent of the work, and how much root is affected. Have you considered a sidewalk made of brick or flagstone without mortar? Even with live oaks, it is best to minimize the damage.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s director of water resources. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
County committee nomination period begins (June 22, 2016)
Hartmann takes the steer by the horns to win state championship (June 22, 2016)
La Vernia FFA wraps up school year with honors, scholarships (June 22, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 22, 2016)
Root rot knocks out roses (June 22, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 22, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 22, 2016)
A student’s ag-related journey (June 15, 2016)
Family Land Heritage news (June 15, 2016)
Five dirty truths on agriculture (June 15, 2016)
Horseherb galloping through yards (June 15, 2016)
Kristin Storey: South Texas queen to compete for national title (June 15, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 15, 2016)
Miller announces assistance for farmers devastated by floods (June 15, 2016)
No “rain, rain, go away” as precipitation persists (June 15, 2016)
Schwartz takes lead as Texas state veterinarian (June 15, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 15, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 15, 2016)
Texas Rural Leadership Program (June 15, 2016)
It’s almost rodeo time in Stockdale (June 8, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 8, 2016)
Save seed pods for next fall (June 8, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 8, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 8, 2016)
Big Time Texas Hunts entries now on sale (June 1, 2016)
Burbridge leads the way in Buck Taylor roping event (June 1, 2016)
Farm Bureau solicits AgLead, FarmLead participants (June 1, 2016)
June 2016 Gardening Calendar (June 1, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 1, 2016)
Save squash from vine borers (June 1, 2016)
State Farm Bureau testifies on agricultural use valuation (June 1, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 1, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 1, 2016)